G’Angelo Hancock can now think to his first match and laugh.
But back then, it wasn’t funny at all.
He was a recent 17-year-old Fountain-Fort Carson grad wrestling in his first world class tournament. At the 2015 Dave Schultz Memorial International, he faced Olympic silver medalist Rustam Totrov of Russia.
And it wasn’t much of a match as the teenager was manhandled and dominated in a 9-0 loss.
In two matches that day, he didn’t score a single point.
The outcome left Hancock crying for several minutes, according to his mentor, T.C. Dantzler.
But Hancock stuck with the sport.
And on Friday night, the 21-year-old became a two-time Schultz tournament champion after defeating Army’s Lucas Sheridan, 7-0, in the 213.5-pound final at the 21st Schultz tournament at the Olympic Training Center.
The third and final day of the tournament is Saturday with compeition in the higher weight classes in men’s freestyle.
In three matches Friday, he earned pins against Canada’s Thomas Barreiro and Minnesota’s Eric Twohey and a shutout over his final opponent.
But Hancock’s path hasn’t been easy.
In his high school, he worked two jobs to help provide for his family. Then, one day, Dantzler approached him with an idea: participate in the Team USA wrestling program.
However, the idea wasn’t something Hancock jumped on.
It took a while before he decided to take wrestling seriously.
He began training at the Olympic Training Center soon after he finished high school. Eventually, he improved.
He got stronger, faster and smarter.
His decision to stick with wrestling has taken him all over the world.
He became a Greco-Roman Junior World bronze medalist, an internationally ranked wrestler, a U.S. Open champion and a two-time U.S. world team member.
And in 2017, Hancock earned some redemption by winning his weight class at the 20th Schultz tournament, topping Minnesota’s Hayden Zillmer 6-5 despite falling behind 5-1.
On Friday, he had a crowd rooting for him. His family, friends, past and present coaches all were yelling, screaming for him to get the win.
Of course, he didn’t disappoint.
“When you’re competing in your backyard, it’s a whole different fight,” he said.
And one of the coaches that believed in him early on was there to witness it all.
Dantzler, who works an assistant wrestling coach at Discovery Canyon, isn’t surprised by Hancock’s success.
While coaching with Pine Creek four years ago, Dantzler recognized Hancock’s ability during at a dual against Fort-Fountain Carson. The Olympian has watched Hancock grow.
In an article by trackwrestling.com, Dantzler said Hancock is “capable of winning a gold in 2020.”
“That was never on my radar,” said Hancock, who wrestled as Tracy before he switched from his first name to middle name. “I’m blessed. I met coaches throughout my life who have set me up for great success.”
Up next: He will be training in places like Hungary, Croatia and Germany to get ready for more world competition.